By Jen Kastner
MIDLAND- Bartolo Sanchez of Toyah, Texas will no longer hold the title of "mayor." During his Thursday afternoon bond hearing at the Midland federal courthouse, he told the judge he would resign from his position on Toyah's City Council.
Sanchez is accused of stealing thousands of dollars from his own city.
The bond hearing lasted nearly two hours, but in the end, the judge granted him a release on a $100,000 bond with the requirement that 20% of that total be paid in cash.
This came after nearly two hours of testimony from witnesses, including a special agent with the Federal Bureau of Investigation.
The FBI special agent testified that during the course of his investigation into the matter, Sanchez seemed to lack the ability to tell the truth on a very basic level when questioned about the outrageous mileage reimbursement he requested.
Oftentimes, the mileage reports that were turned over every couple of weeks, documented averages between 300 and 400 miles. Toyah, however, is only 1.6 square miles. The agent also said Sanchez reported taking frequent trips to the water plant, often multiple times a day. However, the agent found it noteworthy to mention that the water plant is only approximately one mile away from the city.
The agent also suggested there may have been some tactics of intimidation and retaliation used by Sanchez. For example, once word of the investigation got out in the community, the city secretary was voted by the council to be evicted from her city owned place of residence. The city secretary is reportedly a vocal opponent of Mr. Sanchez.
The defense argued that the eviction was issued at the suggestion of the city attorney, who they claim, believed it was a smart financial move that could generate more revenue for Toyah.
The prosecution then argued that the home was never sold. It was rented out to a new tenant.
The defense argued to the judge that Sanchez would be of no threat, should he be released on special conditions.
Those conditions, later set by the judge, include turning in his weapon, refraining from talking to any potential witnesses, avoiding alcohol and drugs, turning in a passport and following a strict curfew requiring him to be home by 9 p.m. every night.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Austin Berry requested for the judge to entertain the idea of placing Sanchez in a halfway house, so that he would be unable to talk to potential witnesses. The prosecution believed releasing Sanchez would allow him to return to Toyah and proceed to scare witnesses into changing their stories surrounding the case.
The judge denied the prosecution's request, claiming it seemed too excessive of a measure, at least for the time being.
Sanchez will remain locked up Thursday night. His family was unable to immediately come up with the $20,000 needed up front to get him released from jail.
His family denied any on-camera interviews but they told NewsWest 9 they're happy he'll likely be home for the holidays.
Sanchez's trial is currently scheduled to start on February 17, 2013.